Ballyboden St Endas 1 25    Raheny 1 23

Long Fella reports from O’ Toole Park

“When it’s your day, it’s your day”, summary commentary from Boden’s men’s football chair at the end of a teasing and ultimately pulsating under 21A hurling final at a very well attended O’Toole Park on Saturday afternoon. Life-long bonds of friendship are forged among young men, even on lifeless December days, but of course a field win is fundamental to the process. The smell of victory only teased the nostrils for Boden early in extra time when Fergal Ryan pointed a placed ball to put the score at 1.18 to 1.17, the first time that the Firhouse Road men had led. Up to that point Raheny looked like the more likely victors, largely off the performance of their superb corner-man and free-taker Liam Dunne. Dunne had kept his side in the game through the second half with a run of six converted frees, but Boden responded with placed balls, and also some superb scores from play. Top of the list was Jack Lambert’s incredible lobber of a point from fifty-five meters and he hugging the white-wash. But the crucial spell involved Ryan, he eschewing the chance of a goal from an angle at thirty or more metres, and in consultation with the referee, choosing to tap over for a point to bring the game to just a goal difference with only a minute left on the injury clock. The next ball into Raheny territory was floated by Adam Kelleher and walloped to the net by the hugely influential Malachy Codd. Game tied at 1.17 apiece. Boden now had the wind in their sails heading into extra time under dulling afternoon light.

Few of the Boden support were enthused by their men’s showing in the opening half, albeit that they were defending the “scoring” goal in the eye of the setting December sun. Surviving on “scraps”, Boden clung onto Raheny’s coat-tails with Ryan successful from four placed balls and no misses, added to a superb brace from Codd and an important contribution from mid-field man Leon Kennedy. Raheny were always to the fore, particularly when Boden made a mess of an attempted clearance and handed a goal to the poacher Thomas Hurley. But Raheny could have had two more goals bagged by the half. A combination of luck and the last-line defending of goal-man Eoin MacPhaidin ensured that the north-siders just led the show with Dunne’s accuracy and superb play-points from Adam McAweeney and Jamie Herbert.  Half-time 1.07 to just 7 points for Boden.

The second half replicated the first in the manner that Raheny replied almost every time that Boden scored, largely through the placed balls off Dunne’s well-honed camán. On five minutes, Codd struck superbly for his third, but Dunne replied with his trade-mark accuracy. Lambert angled his wide shot over to huge cheers from the Boden support, but Dunne was on hand to keep the lead to a goal. With Raheny’s Tom O’Donnell thriving in the heat of battle, Raheny struck for home with Dunne the main contributor, opening the gap to four. Lambert struck for his second, a different ball-flight that “faded in” on a low projectory. From the twentieth minute of the half, Boden upped the pressure and the rewards came quickly after Kelleher and, just introduced, Ryan O’Dwyer were fouled. Ryan converted, but he also found the space to bag a quality point from play. The end-game of the sixty came when Ryan kept his cool to point a free in injury time, followed by Codd’s excellent poach. Full-time 1.17 apiece.

In extra-time Ryan was first to score, only to see Raheny reply with Dunne on the mark. McAweeney hit his second score to put his side back in front, but Ryan bagged a 65 to level matters. Level at half-time. On resumption Ryan, O’Dwyer and John McGuire opened a three-point lead, the pick of the bunch from O’Dwyer after he managed to catch the dropping ball and with hurleys flashing in many directions, he pointed despite the attempted block. Raheny came back at Boden with Dunne and O’Donnell both pointing, and Dunne levelled the game within two minutes, his fourteenth score. Boden left it late, but Pearse Christie capped a workman-like second half with a telling score, leaving Ryan to tap over for the game’s final white flag.

Ryan’s contribution to the win was immense. His free-taking was impeccable, as well as his overall workrate. Codd can be very proud of his scoring contribution, all crucial scores in such a tight game. Boden’s Paddy Dunleavy was hugely effective in his no nonsense defending. MacPhaidin was a dependable custodian, particularly under dangerous ball. But perhaps it was Lambert who showed real championship dependability with his brace from defence, as well as breaking up the Raheny attacking play, arguably the MVP on the day. (Football chairman agrees).

Raheny may feel that they left this one behind them, but Boden’ early faux-pas had remained the gap until Boden’s final drive for the result.

Squad; Eoin MacPhaidin, Luke Mulligan-Lynch, Barry McGuire, Hugh O’Sullivan, Jack Lambert, Conor Lowe, Sean Bury, John McGuire, Leon Kennedy, Fergal Ryan, Sean O’Donnell, Malachy Codd, Connell McGlynn, Pearse Christie, Adam Kelleher, Paddy Dunleavy, Timmy Cleary, Cian Corcoran, Josh Corcoran, Eoghan Deignan, Liam Irwin, Davy Keogh, David Monahan, Matthew Ormsby, Ryan O’Dwyer, Daire Sweeney.

Thanks to Miriam for the photos and special thanks to the Long Fella for his reports.

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